Charvel covers all shred bases and nails that hot-rodded Strat vibe with new-for-2023 Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 electrics

Charvel Spring 2023
(Image credit: Charvel)

Charvel has launched its first new electric guitars of 2023, offering 10 variations on the hot-rodded Fender Stratocaster theme, taking the double-cut silhouette and spec’ing it up for a high-performance ride.

There is something for everyone here, just so long as you like your double-cuts built for speed, with satin-smooth, graphite-reinforced maple necks as standard, maple or ebony 12” to 16” compound radius fingerboards, jumbo frets, the whole nine yards. 

All are built for performance, with the Pro-Mod series replete with all kinds of player-friendly details, such as rolled fingerboard edges, Luminlay side dot markers, a truss rod adjustment wheel positioned at the top of the fingerboard. 

And yet, it’s not like the bodies have been carved into oblivion to expose all areas of the fretboard. Charvel somehow always finds the compromise between subtle improvement and revolutionary iconoclasm. 

Much of these share the same recipe, solid alder bodies, the four-bolt join on the neck. Charvel’s new product drops are a little like a pizza menu; you know pretty much you’re getting dough, sugo and mozarella, but there’s some choice over the toppings.

First up, the Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR M. The stray consonants at the end of the designation a clue to what is on offer. In Charvelese, this means a humbucker/single-coil/single-coil pickup configuration, a Floyd Rose double-locking vibrato, and a maple fingerboard. 

Those HSS pickups comprise a hot Seymour Duncan Distortion TB-6 humbucker at the bridge pickup, and a pair of Seymour Duncan SSL Custom Flat Strat single-coils at the middle and neck position. A five-way pickup selector is your gateway to all manner of tones.

Your finish options for the maple ‘boarded HSS model is Gloss Black. Price £999 / $1,099.

The Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HSS FR E, meanwhile, has, yes, you guessed it, all of the above specs but ships with an ebony fingerboard. Charvel clearly thinks this is going to be the more popular model, and offers this in Pharaohs Gold, Ferrari Red and Lambo Green. It is priced the same.

The Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH FR M switches things up with a dual-humbucker configuration, with Seymour Duncan Distortions at both neck and bridge. 

And just so that no one complains that this is not quite as versatile as the HSS model there is a push/pull coil split, putting single-coil snap and chime on the menu too. 

As above, you’ve got a Floyd Rose 1000 Series vibrato. Finishes include Gloss Black, Infinity Blue, and Snow White. All look great, but the gold anodized pickguard on the latter is really something.

The Pro-Mod So-Cal Style 1 HH HT E offers the above but with a six-saddle hardtail bridge, ideal for those who cannot be bothered with the faff of setting up the Floyd. Finish options include Candy Apple Red, Primer Grey, and that old MusicRadar favourite, Pharaohs Gold. This is priced £799 / $899

For more details, head over to Charvel.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.